Aramis Ramirez (THE TOPPS COMPANY)

Aramis Ramírez

This article was written by John Fredland

Aramis Ramírez (THE TOPPS COMPANY)Thrust into a starting role with the Pittsburgh Pirates as a teenager, Aramis Ramírez blossomed after a 2003 trade to the Chicago Cubs, providing the franchise’s best long-term play at third base since Ron Santo. As of 2021, his 386 career home runs, hit over 18 seasons with three National League Central Division teams, lead all but five third basemen in major league history.

Aramis Ramírez Nin was born on June 25, 1978, in Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic. The son of a doctor and an accountant, he initially preferred basketball to baseball — but realized at age 13 that his path in that sport was limited.1 “It was my best sport,” Ramírez said in a 2002 interview. “But then my friends told me there’s not a lot of basketball players from the Dominican in the NBA. They said it was easier to make it to the big leagues in baseball.”2 Within two years of Ramirez’s switch to baseball, Pirates scout Pablo Cruz noticed him in an amateur league.3 Pittsburgh signed him in November 1994 at age 16.

After hitting 11 home runs in 64 games for the Pirates’ affiliate in the Dominican Summer League in 1995,4 Ramírez drew prominent praise upon reaching the New York-Penn League’s Erie Sea Wolves a season later. Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson, scouting the league, heralded Ramírez as “a better prospect than anybody in the Yankees’ organization” and asserted that Ramírez “should be in the big leagues in two years — if he bears down and comes to play every day.”5

Ramírez won New York-Penn League Most Valuable Player honors in 1996, hitting .305 with nine home runs and 42 RBIs in 61 games. “He was one of those guys, when he took batting practice, you didn’t have to watch,” Sea Wolves manager Jeff Richardson remembered. “You knew by the sound of his bat, that special sound coming off. He could hit sliders and breaking balls at 17 and drive them to center or the other way and drive them out of the park.”6

After the 1996 season, Ramírez returned to the Dominican Republic to play winter ball with the Gigantes del Noroeste of the Dominican Professional Baseball League. He would play in the LIDOM every winter through 2002, joining the Gigantes for two seasons and the Tigres del Licey for the next four. As his major league career accelerated, however, Ramírez acceded to his teams’ wishes that he skip winter ball; 2001-02 was his final LIDOM season. “They can’t say you can’t play in the Dominican,” he noted in 2006. “But they can tell you, ‘Hey, we don’t want you to play. If I’m paying you $11 million per year, I want you playing for the Chicago Cubs. I don’t want you playing for Licey.’”7

The Pirates moved Ramírez to the High-A Lynchburg Hillcats in 1997. Although he was the youngest regular position player in the Carolina League, he recorded a .278 average, 29 home runs, and 114 RBIs in 137 games and again received league MVP honors. His success led to another accelerated promotion; he started 1998 with the Pirates’ Triple-A affiliate in Nashville.

In Pittsburgh, however, the Pirates desperately needed reinforcements at third, as Triple-A graduate Freddy Garcia and free-agent utilityman Doug Strange struggled to replace Joe Randa, who had been lost in the expansion draft. On May 26, with their collective third-base efforts for 1998 a .176 batting average and two home runs, the Pirates summoned Ramírez to the majors, less than a month before his 20th birthday.8

He started slowly, going hitless in his first 24 at bats before doubling off the Mets’ Greg McMichael on June 3. Nevertheless, he held the Bucs’ starting third-base slot for the rest of the season, except for a five-game suspension in July for charging the mound and throwing his batting helmet at Javier Vazquez of the Montreal Expos after a hit batsman, and three weeks missed after hyperextending his left shoulder on August 9.9 Ramirez’s .235/.296/.351 batting line confirmed that the promotion was premature, but glimpses of potential lurked within the numbers, such as his home run off Randy Johnson in the future Hall of Famer’s Astros debut on August 2.

The shoulder injury initiated a persistent theme of Ramirez’s career: returning to the field after significant injuries. In 10 of his 18 major league seasons, he incurred injuries serious enough to sideline him for at least a two-week period.10 “People don’t realize he plays hurt,” teammate Ryan Theriot said in 2008. “It’s not like every time he gets a little nick he’s out. I watched him battle through injuries the last two years and continue to play and never really say anything about it.”11

In 1999 the Pirates signed veteran third baseman Ed Sprague to a one-year contract, allowing Ramírez a full year of development in Triple-A.12 Once again the youngest regular position player in his league, Ramírez battered Pacific Coast League pitching with a .328 average, 21 home runs, and 74 RBIs in 131 games. He returned to Pittsburgh only when rosters expanded in September. With Sprague departure in 2000, the Pirates named Ramírez their Opening Day third baseman, but a .167 average and shaky defense led to his demotion to Triple A on April 27.13 Recalled to the Pirates on June 18, Ramírez emerged over the next two months, batting .284/.316/.448 in 55 games until a dislocated shoulder on August 28 ended his season prematurely.14

Ramírez was Pittsburgh’s Opening Day starter at third again in 2001. As in 2000, he began slowly, with just two hits in his first 15 at bats. When first-year manager Lloyd McClendon gave him a day off on April 7, during a series in Houston. Ramírez utilized the down time to work on his swing, reporting to Enron Field in the morning and hitting off a tee during the game.15

Aramis Ramírez (TRADING CARD DB)The next day he hit three home runs and drove in six runs in a 9-3 win. Three days later, he had three hits and scored the winning run in the Pirates’ first-ever win in their new home, PNC Park.16 He had a breakout season at age 23, finishing with 34 home runs and 112 RBI — both the second-highest season totals by a third baseman in franchise history. The Pirates lost 100 games and tied for the worst record in the major leagues, but Ramírez appeared to have secured third base for the long term.

In December 2001 Ramírez married Yudith.17 They have two sons, Aramis Jr. and Michael, and a daughter, Cristal.18 He agreed to a three-year, $9.5 million contract with the Pirates in February 2002 and started the season seemingly intent on justifying the raise.19 When he doubled off Milwaukee’s Ben Sheets in the top of the second inning on April 17, his average was .348. In the bottom of the inning, Pittsburgh starter David Williams hit the Brewers’ Geoff Jenkins with a pitch. Ramírez batted again in the third. Sheets hit him with a pitch and Ramírez charged the mound, throwing his helmet at Sheets. A bench-clearing brawl ensued.20 Ramírez was suspended for seven games.21 It was his second career suspension for fighting, the first being his rookie-year incident with Javier Vazquez. More significantly, he sprained his ankle in the brawl and missed two weeks.22 He played every day after his return, but his production dropped to a .234 average, 18 home runs, and 71 RBI in 142 games, as Pittsburgh struggled to its tenth consecutive losing season.

The Pirates prescribed an exercise and nutrition regimen for Ramírez after the 2002 season. He reported to minicamp in January at 208 pounds, his lightest in six years. “I feel good about myself,” he said. “I’m hoping all the hard work I did in the winter will pay off. Now it’s time to do it on the field.”23 Nonetheless, he struggled at the outset in 2003. Through May 16, he had only one home run in 41 games, with a dismal .216/.288/.316 batting line and 12 errors at third.24 But he worked through his struggles. He had two hits against the Arizona Diamondbacks on May 17. Three more hits followed a day later, including a long home run against Arizona’s Mike Koplove.25 Ramírez was back on track, batting .391/.425/.609 over 31 games between May 17 and June 23, with six home runs and only two errors. Between May 14 and June 11, he had a 22-game hitting streak.26

But Pittsburgh was falling out of contention and losing money — a reported $30 million in the three seasons they had played at PNC Park. Management decided to cut payroll, targeting Major League Baseball’s requirement of a 60-40 ratio between equity and debt.27 The first trade candidate was pitcher Kris Benson, the Pirates’ first overall draft selection in 1996. As the July 31 trade deadline approached, Benson reported discomfort in his right shoulder, rendering him unmarketable. Ramírez was next on the trading block.28 On July 22, Pittsburgh dealt him and veteran center fielder Kenny Lofton to the Cubs for veteran third baseman Jose Hernandez, a minor league pitcher, and a player to be named, later identified as infielder Bobby Hill.29 Chicago was thrilled by the one-sided deal;30 Pittsburgh partisans were outraged.31

Ramírez joined a Cubs team fighting for the National League Central title. Chicago had pursued Florida’s Mike Lowell before dealing for Ramirez, who became the Cubs’ 98th third baseman since Santo’s departure in 1974.32 “I’m a little disappointed because I spent my whole career with the Pirates,” Ramírez said. “But I’m also excited. I’m looking forward to playing with Sammy Sosa and Moises Alou, who are Dominicans like me. They’re great players and I’m hoping they can help me take my game to the next level.”33

The Cubs surged in September, winning 19 of 27 games, for their first division title since 1989 and first postseason berth since 1998. With Chicago trailing first-place Houston by 1½ games on September 21, Ramírez hit two home runs in a 4-1 win over the Pirates.34 His fifth-inning homer off Cincinnati’s Scott Randall two days later gave the Cubs a lead they would not relinquish in a 6-0 win that put them in first to stay.35 In the NL Division Series, they faced the NL East champion Atlanta Braves, whose 101 regular-season wins were 13 more than Chicago’s 88. The Cubs had not won a postseason series since beating the White Sox in the 1908 World Series.

Chicago trailed Atlanta, 1-0, in the top of the sixth in Game One on September 30, when Ramírez followed Alou’s leadoff single with a single of his own. He scored on Kerry Wood’s double for the go-ahead run in the Cubs’ 4-2 win.36 After the Braves evened the series, Ramirez’s eighth-inning RBI double in Game Three gave Chicago an insurance run in their 3-1 victory.37 Atlanta responded with another win, forcing a decisive Game Five. Chicago led, 2-0, in the sixth when Ramírez crushed a 439-foot two-run homer off Mike Hampton.38 The Cubs’ 5-1 win completed their first postseason series triumph in 95 years.39 The Cubs went on to face the Marlins in the National League Championship Series. Like Chicago, Florida had upset a 100-win team in the Division Series, beating San Francisco in four games. After Florida won the opener in 11 innings, Ramírez hit one of the Cubs’ four homers in a series-evening 12-3 win.40 Chicago went ahead with an 11-inning win of their own in Game Three.

Marlins rookie sensation Dontrelle Willis took the mound on October 11. The 21-year-old left-hander, who would win NL Rookie of the Year honors, walked three batters in the first to load the bases with one out, bringing up Ramirez. Willis got ahead with two strikes, but Ramírez worked the count even. The next pitch was a fastball inside. Ramírez pulled it inside the left field foul pole for the first grand slam in Cubs’ postseason history.41 He added an RBI single in the third and a solo home run off Nate Bump in the seventh. Chicago rolled to an 8-3 win and 3-1 series lead. “Aramis Ramírez looked like Babe Ruth tonight,” Florida’s Derrek Lee said.42

Chicago was one win from the World Series but got no closer. Josh Beckett shut them out in Game Five.43 An eight-run eighth-inning collapse — following a Chicago fan’s interference with a likely foul out — doomed the Cubs in Game Six,44 and the Marlins wrapped up the series with another comeback win a night later.45 After contributing many big hits in Chicago’s drive for glory, Ramírez had only one hit in nine at bats in the final three games.

As 2004 opened, Ramírez was comfortable in his new home. “It’s special being with a winning team from the beginning, when everybody knows from the beginning that we have a pretty good chance of being in the playoffs,” he said during spring training.46 He started hitting early that year; in the Cubs’ first ten games, he had four hits twice and three hits in another game.

Ramírez was in the NL’s top ten in average, runs, and RBI on July 2, when he strained his groin running the bases in a game against the White Sox.47 He missed the next 11 games, not returning to action until July 18. The Cubs chose to play shorthanded rather than placing Ramírez on the disabled list; they lost nine of 12 games between July 5 and July 20 to fall from three games behind first-place St. Louis to eight back.48 Upon his return he resumed his torrid pace, slugging a grand slam off Cincinnati’s Ryan Wagner on July 22.49 On July 30, he recorded the second three-home-run game of his career in a 10-7 win over Philadelphia.50 Another three-homer game followed on September 16; he drove in all five Cubs runs in a 5-4 victory over Cincinnati.51 Chicago rode a 13-3 spurt in September into the NL wild card lead.

On September 25, Ramirez’s 35th home run of the season off former teammate Kris Benson tied the Mets in the seventh inning; when the Cubs won in ten innings, they held a 1½ -game lead for the NL wild card spot.52 But Chicago lost six of their next seven games and missed the postseason.53 Ramírez suffered a 2-for-21 stretch during that slide. Still, his .318 average and .578 slugging percentage turned out to be career highs, and he received votes for the NL MVP award for the first time, finishing 10th overall.

Ramirez’s contract was scheduled to expire after the 2005 season, but the Cubs headed off free agency by signing him to a four-year, $42 million extension on April 3, hours before the season opener. Despite a clause permitting Ramírez to become a free agent after the 2006 season, he insisted that he would stay. “I want to be a Cub for the rest of my life,” he said.54 Ramirez’s assault on major league pitching only intensified with the new contract. He made his first All-Star team in 2005 and was on pace for career highs in home runs and RBIs before a quadriceps strain sidelined him for the season’s final 35 games.55 He came back in 2006 and played all but five games, finishing with career highs for home runs (38) and RBIs (119). But the Cubs dropped out of contention in both years, finishing four games under .500 in 2005 and 30 under in 2006. Manager Dusty Baker was fired, and Lou Piniella took over in 2007. Ramírez exercised the opt-out clause in his contract at the end of 2006 but quickly renegotiated a five-year, $73 million deal with the Cubs in November. “When it came time to cut the strings, Aramis couldn’t do it,” his agent, Paul Kinzer, said. “He knew he left a lot of money on the table, but it didn’t matter to him.”56

The change in stewardship did not immediately revive the 2007 Cubs. On June 21, they were seven games under .500 and 8.5 games behind first-place Milwaukee. Ramírez missed 14 games after injuring his knee running to first on June 6.57 He returned to the lineup as the designated hitter on June 22, in a cross-town away game with the White Sox. In his first at bat, he hit an opposite-field home run off Mark Buehrle, sparking a 5-1 win.58 The Cubs swept that three-game series from the White Sox and followed with another three-game sweep of the Colorado Rockies. The win streak was in jeopardy on June 29, when the Brewers jumped out to a 5-0 first-inning lead at Wrigley Field. Ramírez doubled and scored in a two-run rally in the second, but the Cubs still trailed, 5-3, heading to the bottom of the ninth.

Milwaukee’s lead was down to one run when Ramírez faced closer Francisco Cordero with two outs and Mike Fontenot on first. Cordero threw a first-pitch slider; Ramírez lined it into the leftfield bleachers for a game-winning home run. The Cubs’ winning streak was seven. “Last year was a tough season, but the front office did a great job bringing in a lot of new faces — and quality ballplayers,” Ramírez said. “That’s why we’re doing what we’re doing right now.”59

By late July the Cubs and Brewers settled into a tight two-team race. Chicago led Milwaukee by one game as play began on September 17 but trailed Cincinnati, 6-4, in the bottom of the ninth. The first two Cubs batters reached base off David Weathers, bringing up Ramirez. He lined a triple to the gap in right center, tying the game. After an intentional walk, Mark DeRosa singled home pinch-runner Sam Fuld with the winning run.60 Ramírez hit two home runs and drove in six runs in a win over the Pirates four days later.61 The Cubs clinched the division title by beating Cincinnati on September 28.62 Their 2007 postseason was brief; Arizona swept them in three games in the NLDS, with Ramírez going hitless.63

Aramis Ramírez (TRADING CARD DB)Still, his regular-season performance earned him a 13th-place finish in the NL MVP voting. His 1.3 Defensive Wins Above Replacement, as calculated by Baseball-Reference, turned out to be his career high. Ramírez had struggled at third, especially early on. “Early in my career, I’d take my at-bats into the field,” he acknowledged in 2005. “You can’t do that. You have to go out and play defense too.” 64 In 2007 he reduced his errors to 10 and handled more chances per game than he had in any other season.

Ramírez was a force on an even better Chicago team in 2008, topping 100 RBIs for the third year in a row; the Cubs won their most regular-season games since 1945. He added to his resume of late-game heroics on June 20 against the White Sox. With the Cubs trailing, 3-1, in the bottom of the seventh, he followed Derrek Lee’s leadoff home run off Octavio Dotel with a solo shot of his own, tying the game. Two innings later, he led off the ninth with a walk-off home run off Scott Linebrink. “Any time you hit in the ninth inning at home, you know the possibility is there for you to hit a walk-off,” Ramírez said. “It’s a special feeling. I can’t even describe it, especially against the crosstown rivals.”65 Selected for the NL All-Star team for the second time in his career, he finished 10th in the MVP voting. But the Cubs again faltered in October, getting swept in the NLDS for the second year in a row. This time, they lost to the Los Angeles Dodgers; Ramírez managed only two hits.66

Ramírez was strong out of the gate in 2009. In his first 12 games, he had three hits twice, four hits once, and an 11th inning walk-off home run against the Cardinals on April 18. But he suffered a left calf strain while running the bases in St. Louis on April 24 and missed six games.67 After returning to the lineup, he dislocated his left shoulder diving for a smash by Milwaukee’s Ryan Braun on May 8, sidelining him for another 50 games.68 Ramírez played in only 82 games in 2009, his fewest of any season as a major league regular. Chicago had a winning record but missed the postseason.

The next two seasons were even worse at Wrigley Field, with the Cubs finishing fifth in the division each year. A persistent injury to his left thumb hampered Ramírez in 2010, forcing him to the disabled list in June.69 By July 5 he had an ugly .178/.243/.296 batting line, with only two home runs in 83 games. He recovered to hit 19 home runs and slug .583 over the rest of the season, but he still finished with his worst totals since 2002. Piniella announced his retirement from managing on July 20; that evening Ramírez scorched Houston for his fourth career three-homer game, driving in seven runs in Chicago’s 14-7 win.70

Ramírez exercised his option to remain with the Cubs in 2011. Earlier in his career, he was lukewarm about assuming a leadership role in Chicago. “I don’t know,” Ramírez said in 2007, after Piniella had identified him as a possible team leader. “I’m just a kid from the Dominican. I don’t know if I have that kind of style on me. I just go out there and do my job.”71 But he became more comfortable out in front, most publicly when he confronted pitcher Carlos Silva during a spring training game in 2011 after Silva had criticized several teammates for fielding lapses. “Nobody wants to make errors,” Ramírez said afterwards. “Nobody feels worse than an infielder or an outfielder when they make errors. We talked about it, and everything’s cool.”72

Despite Ramirez’s professional growth and still-potent bat, all signs pointed towards 2011 being his final year with the Cubs. With Chicago out of the division race by Memorial Day, he was the subject of trade rumors but ultimately remained with the Cubs until season’s end.73 He started slowly but found his pace in June, earning the only Silver Slugger Award of his career. In October the Cubs named Theo Epstein president and Jed Hoyer general manager. They declined to offer Ramírez a long-term contract.74 Ramírez in turn declined his $16 million option and became a free agent, ending his Chicago tenure after eight and a half years, the longest for any Cubs third baseman since Santo’s 1960-1973 run at Wrigley.75

Rumors linked Ramírez with Philadelphia, the Miami Marlins, and the Los Angeles Angels, but he signed with a former divisional rival.76 Ramírez reached a three-year, $36 million deal with Milwaukee on December 12. With Prince Fielder expected to leave in free agency and Ryan Braun facing a potential 50-game suspension for violating MLB’s drug policy, the Brewers needed power hitting.77 “You can’t replace Prince Fielder,” Ramírez said at the press conference announcing the signing. “He’s one of the best hitters in the game. I’m going to do my best and I’ll do what I’m capable of. I won’t do what I can’t. I’ll do what I’ve done my whole career — and that’s drive in runs and try to play a good third base.”78

The Brewers had won 96 games in 2011 and reached a league championship series for the first time since 1982. But they fell out of the race early in 2012, dropping nine games under .500 by May 22. Ramírez mirrored the team’s struggles with a .215/.259/.364 batting line in 29 games through May 7. He found his stride and finished the year leading the NL in doubles (50) and extra-base hits (80). His 5.6 Wins Above Replacement, aided by one of his best defensive seasons, was a career high at age 34. “One thing I noticed, at least toward the end of his career: He was excellent at bare-handing rollers,” Joe Block, a Brewers radio broadcaster from 2012 to 2015, remembered. “Say what you want about range, but he was a foul pop away from 110 errorless games, which would’ve been the record.”79 The Brewers won 24 of 30 games between August 20 and September 22 to salvage a winning season; Ramírez racked up a 1.044 OPS during that stretch. He received enough MVP votes to finish ninth, the best showing of his career.

Injuries plagued Ramírez in 2013. He sprained his left knee sliding in a spring training game and was sidelined for two weeks.80 Another slide in the Brewers’ fourth regular season game on April 5 sprained his left knee again and cost him 23 games.81 With his knee continuing to bother him in July, he went on the disabled list again and missed 32 more games.82 Milwaukee fell to fourth in the division with a 74-88 record.

The Brewers sizzled at the start in 2014. By April 29 they had a 20-7 record and 6½-game lead in the division. They were 19 games over .500 on June 28 despite losing Ramírez for 23 games in May and June with a strained left hamstring.83 When he returned, Ramírez surged for a 1.177 OPS in 17 games between June 12 and 29 and was selected to start at third in the All-Star Game, his third and final All-Star selection. He responded with a single and double in three at bats. The Brewers slumped in the second half, finishing in third place with an 82-80 record.

During spring training in 2015, Ramírez expressed his intent to retire after the season. “When I was leaving [for spring training] this year, I don’t think I can do that again,” he said. “I promised my daughter this is the last time I’ll leave her.”84 The Brewers lost 13 of their first 15 games and were never within 10 games of first after April. Trade rumors involving Ramírez started circulating in early June.85 The Pirates were competing for the National League Central Division title and a wild-card berth but lost infielders Josh Harrison and Jordy Mercer to injuries in July.86 On July 23, nearly 12 years to the day after the Pirates had traded him to Chicago in 2003, they obtained Ramírez in exchange for a minor league pitcher.87 “I was happy,” Ramírez said of the trade. “We were in last place in Milwaukee. All of a sudden, I’m playing here in the wild card with a chance to win the division. I couldn’t ask for anything better.”88

In Pittsburgh, Ramírez started at third base regularly over the final two months of the season. Early in his career, a potential move to first base had been the subject of speculation,89 but Ramírez never played at first until the Pirates started him there on September 9 in Cincinnati. On September 21 in Colorado, Ramírez hit a first-inning home run off the Rockies’ Jon Gray; it was the 386th and last of his career. The Pirates finished with 98 wins, good for second place in the NL Central and a wild card game against the Cubs at PNC Park on October 7. Behind home runs by Kyle Schwarber and Dexter Fowler, Chicago staked Jake Arrieta to a 4-0 lead. In the seventh, Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle summoned Ramírez to pinch hit with one out and a runner on first. Ramírez smashed a one-hopper to third, but Kris Bryant made a backhand grab and started an around-the-horn double play. Pittsburgh’s season — and Ramirez’s career — ended two innings later, as Arrieta closed out the shutout.90

Ramírez formally announced his retirement in November 2015. “After 18 years in the majors and more than half of my life playing baseball, I want to be with my family and do some of the things I like,” he said.91 Throughout his career, Ramírez remained keenly aware of the effects of time. “I don’t really believe in the phrase ‘on pace’ because you never know what’s going to happen,” he said when discussing career statistical accomplishments in 2009. “You can get hurt, or you’re quick to lose it. You keep seeing guys that for some reason, they can be a superstar one day, and two years later, they can’t hit a baseball.”92

Aramis Ramírez kept himself ahead of baseball’s curve through more than 2,200 regular-season and postseason games. Of major leaguers who played at least 75 percent of their games at third, only Mike Schmidt, Eddie Mathews, Adrian Beltre, Chipper Jones, and Graig Nettles hit more home runs. Ramírez was elected to the Dominican Sports Hall of Fame in November 2020.93

Last revised: April 30, 2021

 

Acknowledgments

This biography was reviewed by Jack Zerby, Rory Costello, and Norman Macht, and fact-checked by Kevin Larkin,. Rory Costello also provided research assistance on Aramis Ramirez’s records in LIDOM winter ball. Thanks to Chicago sportswriter Paul Sullivan for his comments on an earlier version of this article, and SABR members John Racanelli and Dale Voiss for their thoughts about Ramirez’s career.

 

Sources

In addition to the sources cited in the Notes, the author relied on Retrosheet.org, Baseball-Reference.com, and WinterBallData.com.

 

Notes

1 Publications consulted while researching this article did not contain the names of Ramirez’s parents.

2 Ed Bouchette, “Temperamental Journey: Passion Fueled Aramis Ramirez’s Rapid Rise to Majors, But It Also Has Hurt Him,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, June 2, 2002: D3.

3 Bouchette.

4 Bouchette.

5 Paul Meyer, “’Snacks’ Shore Had a Lot of Fun in Baseball,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, August 18, 1996: D6.

6 Bouchette, “Temperamental Journey.”

7 Kevin Baxter, “A Jump on the Season,” Miami Herald, March 2, 2006: 13D.

8 Paul Meyer, “No Escape: Blown 2-1 Lead in Ninth Overshadows Ramírez Debut,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, May 27, 1998: D1.

9 Paul Meyer, “Ramírez Gets Five Games,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, July 23, 1998: D1; Paul Meyer, “Squeaker: Peters Stifles Dodgers; Ramírez Injures Shoulder in Slide,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, August 10, 1998: C3.

10 Ramirez’s significant injuries included a hyperextended left shoulder in 1998, a dislocated left shoulder in 2000, a sprained left ankle in 2002, a strained groin in 2004, a strained left quadriceps in 2005, a strained left knee in 2007, a strained left calf and dislocated left shoulder in 2009, a bruised left thumb in 2010, a sprained left knee in 2013, and a strained left hamstring in 2014.

11 Bruce Miles, “No Controversy Here: Cubs’ Ramírez Doesn’t Let Discussion Stray From Baseball,” Daily Herald, February 20, 2008:

12 Paul Meyer, “Sprague Signed to Fill Hole at 3B: Veteran Hit 36 Homers in 1996 for Blue Jays,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, December 16, 1998: D1.

13 Paul Meyer, “Ramírez Demoted to AAA Nashville: Left-Hander Wallace Recalled for Struggling Third Baseman,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, April 29, 2000: C6.

14 Paul Meyer, “Aramis Ramírez Makes His Way at Last,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, August 18, 2000: C3; Paul Meyer, “Ramírez Injured in 5-4 Loss to Giants: Pirates 3B Likely Out for Season After Shoulder Dislocated,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, August 29, 2000: E6.

15 Robert Dvorchak, “Pirates Power Past Astros, 9-3: Ramirez’s 3 Homers Help Beimel Win Debut,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, April 9, 2001: D1.

16 Robert Dvorchak, “A Wild Night of Firsts: Rally for Two Runs in Seventh Inning; Bullpen Holds Reds,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, April 12, 2001: D1.

17 Bouchette, “Temperamental Journey.” Publications consulted in research for this article did not contain the maiden name of Yudith Ramirez.

18 Milwaukee Brewers 2013 Media Guide, 122.

19 Mike Crissey, “Ramírez Gets $9.5 Million, Three-Year Contract With Bucs,” Latrobe Bulletin, February 28, 2002: 7.

20 Vic Feuerherd, “Ejected and Dejected: Ben Sheets Triggers a Bench-Clearing Brawl as Brewers Suffer their 10th Loss in 11 Games,” Wisconsin State Journal, April 18, 2002: C1.

21 “Pirates’ Ramírez Suspended for Seven Games,” Latrobe Bulletin, April 24, 2002: 10.

22 Bouchette, “Temperamental Journey.”

23 Robert Dvorchak, “Call Him Slim: Ramírez Sheds 20 Pounds With Diet, Workouts,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, January 17, 2003: B9.

24 Ron Cook, “Another Off Day for Ramirez,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, May 12, 2003: C1.

25 Robert Dvorchak, “Signs of Life: Pirates’ Rally Falls Short, But Players See Plenty of Positives in Loss,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, May 19, 2003: C1.

26 Ron Cook, “Pirates Have Two Untouchables,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, July 20, 2003: B1.

27 Paul Meyer, “Mired in Another Losing Season, Bucs Pass the Bucks,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, July 24, 2003: A1.

28 Meyer.

29 Paul Meyer, “Cash ‘n Carry: Pirates Deal Ramirez, Lofton to Cubs, Sauerbeck to Red Sox as Long-Awaited Payroll Reduction Plan Picks Up Momentum,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, July 23, 2003: B1.

30 Mike Downey, “Hendry’s Heists May Help Cubs Hoist Title Flag,” Chicago Tribune, July 24, 2003: 5,1.

31 Lori Shontz, “Fans Feeling Pirates Trade is a Betrayal,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, July 24, 2003: A8.

32 Phil Rogers, “What’s Not to Like About This Trade?”, Chicago Tribune, July 23, 2003: 4,1.

33 Paul Sullivan, “2 Pirates Come Aboard: Hendry Fills Biggest Holes by Dealing for 3B Ramirez, CF Lofton,” Chicago Tribune, July 23, 2003: 4,1.

34 Paul Sullivan, “Prior Set for Photo Finish: Ace Strikes Out 14 Pirates to Cut Gap to Half-Game,” Chicago Tribune, September 22, 2003: 3,1.

35 Paul Sullivan, “Wood Puts 1st Things 1st: Loses No-Hit Bid in Seventh but Lifts Cubs to Central Lead,” Chicago Tribune, September 24, 2003: 4,1.

36 Paul Sullivan, “Taking Braves to Woodshed: Pitcher Does It All in Cubs’ Rare Road Playoff Win,” Chicago Tribune, October 1, 2003: 9,3.

37 Paul Sullivan, “Embracing Opportunity: Prior in Command as Cubs Push Braves to Brink of Elimination,” Chicago Tribune, October 4, 2003: 6,3.

38 Bonnie DeSimone, “Insurance Man: Ramírez Slugs Key 2-Run Homer in Sixth,” Chicago Tribune, October 6, 2003: 8,4.

39 Paul Sullivan, “Win Long Time Coming: Wood, Cubs Share Moment With Fans,” Chicago Tribune, October 6, 2003: 8,3.

40 Paul Sullivan, “Thunder Sticks: Gonzalez’s 2 HRs Lead Rout as Cubs Even Series,” Chicago Tribune, October 9, 2003: 7,3.

41 Teddy Greenstein, “Fish Switch Not in Time,” Chicago Tribune, October 12, 2003: 17,6.

42 Bruce Miles, “Ain’t It Grand? Ramirez’s Slam Helps Put Cubs 1 Win From … Yes, the World Series,” Daily Herald, October 12, 2003: 2,1.

43 Paul Sullivan, “Beckett Keeps Marlins Alive: Shutout Cuts Margin to 3-2,” Chicago Tribune, October 13, 2003: 8,3.

44 Paul Sullivan, “Fan Has Hand in Collapse: Gets in Way of Catch, Then Cubs Cave In,” Chicago Tribune, October 15, 2003: 10,3.

45 Paul Sullivan, “Classic Fall: Cubs Can’t Hold 5-3 Lead; Wood, Relievers Collapse,” Chicago Tribune, October 16, 2003, 7,3.

46 John Mullin, “Ramírez Feels Right at Home,” Chicago Tribune, April 1, 2004: 4,3.

47 Nick Pietruszkiewicz, “Groin Injury Likely to Keep Ramírez out,” Northwest Herald, July 3, 2004: 5B.

48 Paul Sullivan, “Injuries Derailing Cubs’ Hopes, Plans,” Chicago Tribune, July 18, 2004: 3,7.

49 Paul Sullivan, “Master of Deception: Complete Game Brings Maddux Within 2 of 300,” Chicago Tribune, July 23, 2004: 4,1.

50 Paul Sullivan, “Ramirez’s Hat Trick: 3 Solo Homers Help Cubs Win Slugfest,” Chicago Tribune, July 31, 2004: 3,1.

51 Paul Sullivan, “Ramírez Points The Way: 3rd Baseman’s 3 HRs Account for All 5 Runs,” Chicago Tribune, September 17, 2004, 4,1.

52 Paul Sullivan, “Cubs Rally Gets Cheers in N.Y.,” Chicago Tribune, September 26, 2004: 3,5.

53 Paul Sullivan, “Wild Ride Exits Tracks: Final-Week Fold Forces Cubs to Sit Out Playoffs,” Chicago Tribune, October 3, 2004: 3,1.

54 Paul Sullivan, “The Escape Artist: Opt-out Clause Lures Ramírez Back for 4 Years,” Chicago Tribune, April 5, 2005: 4,6.

55 Paul Sullivan, “Ramírez Looks Finished for ’05; Walker Injured,” Chicago Tribune, September 24, 2005: 3,5.

56 Paul Sullivan, “Staying Power: Ramirez, Wood in Fold; Soriano on Cubs’ Radar,” Chicago Tribune, November 13, 2006: 4,1.

57 Paul Sullivan, “Ramírez Sidelined with Strained Knee,” Chicago Tribune, June 7, 2007: 4,4.

58 Mark Gonzales, “Cubs Jump on Chances: Early HRs, Zambrano’s Dominant Pitching Overpower Wobbly Sox,” Chicago Tribune, June 23, 2007: 3,6.

59 Paul Sullivan, “The Latest Craze: Ramírez Caps 7th Straight Win With 2-Out, 2-Run HR in 9th,” Chicago Tribune, June 30, 2007: 3,1.

60 Paul Sullivan, “DeRosa Delight: RBI Single off Pitcher’s Glove Caps Comeback, 5-for-5 Night,” Chicago Tribune, September 18, 2007: 4,1.

61 Dave van Dyck, “Double-Shot Déjà Vu: Big Day Mirrors ’03,” Chicago Tribune, September 22, 2007: 3,1.

62 Paul Sullivan, “It’s Party Central: Piniella’s Club Lets It All Spill out in Champagne-Soaked Clubhouse,” Chicago Tribune, September 30, 2007: 3,1.

63 Paul Sullivan, “Cubs Fail Miserably in Clutch, Get Swept out of Playoffs by D’Backs,” Chicago Tribune: October 7, 2007: 17,3.

64 Sullivan, “The Escape Artist.”

65 Rick Morrissey, “Ramírez Has 2 Big Reasons to Celebrate,” Chicago Tribune, June 21, 2008: 3,1.

66 Paul Sullivan, “No Hollywood Ending: Big Bats Fail Again as L.A. Completes Sweep,” Chicago Tribune, October 5, 2008: 2A,3.

67 Paul Sullivan, “Coming Apart, It Seems: Ramirez, Marmol Join Ranks of Wounded as Cubs Drop 3rd Straight,” Chicago Tribune, April 25, 2009: 2,1.

68 Paul Sullivan, “This Hurts: Ramírez will Miss 4-6 Weeks,” Chicago Tribune, May 9, 2009: 2,1.

69 Dave van Dyck, “Cubs Finally Put Ramírez on DL,” Chicago Tribune, June 10, 2010: 2,4.

70 Paul Sullivan, “Ramírez Paces Cubs’ Comeback: Third Baseman Blasts 3 HRs, Drives in 7 to Cap Big Rally,” Chicago Tribune, June 21, 2010: 2,7.

71 Paul Sullivan, “Lou’s View: Opening Roster in Flux,” Chicago Tribune, March 28, 2007: 4,4.

72 Paul Sullivan, “Things Getting Prickly: Silva, Ramírez Scuffle in Cubs’ Dugout After Disastrous 1st Inning,” Chicago Tribune, March 3, 2011: 1,74.

73 Paul Sullivan, “Willing; Not Wanted: Ramírez Hints He Would Accept Trade If Needed,” Chicago Tribune, July 29, 2011: 1,81.

74 Paul Sullivan, “Samardzija Faces Pay Cut: Cubs Pass on his $3 Million Option,” Chicago Tribune, November 1, 2011: 3,7.

75 Paul Sullivan, “Ramírez Declines Option: Cubs 3B, Sox’s Buehrle Among New Free Agents,” Chicago Tribune, October 31, 2011: 3,7. Not everyone is Chicago was saddened by Ramirez’s departure. Former major-league catcher and manager Bob Brenly, then a color analyst on Cubs’ television broadcasts, criticized Ramírez on a radio show in November 2011. “He’s a numbers gatherer,” Brenly said of Ramirez. “He gets his stats at the end of the year every year, but defensively he’s just fallen off the face of the earth. As a baserunner he kills you. He’s a log jammer on the bases, and I’m not buying any of this leadership-for-Starlin-Castro stuff at all.” Phil Rogers, “Ramírez Camp Riled: Agent Calls Brenly’s Criticism of Veteran 3B ‘very low class,’” Chicago Tribune, November 15, 2011: 3,3.

76 Juan C. Rodriguez, “Marlins Land Closer Heath Bell, Turn Their Attention to Reyes,” South Florida Sun Sentinel, December 3, 2011: 2C; Mike DiGiovanna, “Dipoto Given Budget Limits: Angels GM Heads to Winter Meetings with Only So Much Money to Spend and Several Needs to Address,” Los Angeles Times, December 5, 2011, C6; Bob Brookover, “Ramírez at Third? It Could be Plan B,” Philadelphia Inquirer, December 6, 2011, D7.

77 Dennis Punzel, “Prince-size Shoes to Fill: Aramis Ramírez Plays Third, Not First, but Expects to Thrive in the Vacated Cleanup Spot,” Wisconsin State Journal, December 15, 2011: B1.

78 Punzel.

79 Joe Block, Twitter message to the author, January 28, 2021.

80 Tom Haudricourt, “Knee Sprain Keeps Aramis Ramírez on Bench,” Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, March 5, 2013.

81 Joe Totoraitis, “Lohse’s Debut Wasted: The Right-Hander Allows One Run in Six Innings and Leaves With a No-Decision,” Wisconsin State Journal, April 6, 2013: B1.

82 Jay Cohen, “Gomez Pulls Back a Win: Centerfielder Robs Votto of Ninth-Inning Homer,” Wasuau Daily Herald, July 9, 2013: 1B.

83 “Injuries Mount for Crew: Ramírez Bound for the 15-Day Disabled List,” Kenosha News, May 12, 2014: B2.

84 Andrew Wagner, “Ramírez Says 2015 Will Likely Be his Final Season,” Post-Crescent, February 28, 2015: C6.

85 Kristie Ackert, “Mets Hope It’s Wright Move: Tejada to 2nd, Murph at 3rd With David out,” New York Daily News, June 5, 2015: 56.

86 Stephen J. Nesbitt, “Mercer Lost for 6 Weeks,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, July 21, 2015: E3.

87 Bill Brink, “Ramirez’s Career Comes Full Circle With Return,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: July 24, 2015: E1.

88 Bill Brink, “Ramírez Bats 4th in First Game Back With Pirates, Glad for Playoff Push,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, July 26, 2015: C1.

89 Cook, “Pirates Have Two Untouchables.”

90 Bill Brink, “Arrieta Overpowers, Pirates Fall to Cubs, 4-0, in Wild-Card Game,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, October 8, 2015.

91 Enrique Rojas, “Aramis Ramírez Retires, Says He’d One Day Like to Work in Front Office,” ESPN.com, November 5, 2015, available at https://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/14061454/aramis-ramirez-retires-18-seasons-major-league-baseball.

92 Paul Sullivan, “End Just a Beginning? Retiring Ex-Cub Ramírez Can Launch Elusive Title Run at Wrigley,” Chicago Tribune, September 25, 2015: 9.

93 Tim Stebbins, “Aramis Ramírez Elected to Dominican Sports Hall of Fame,” NBCSports.Com, November 11, 2020, available at https://www.nbcsports.com/chicago/cubs/longtime-cubs-3b-aramis-ramirez-elected-dominican-sports-hall-fame.

Full Name

Aramis Ramirez Nin

Born

June 25, 1978 at Santo Domingo, Distrito Nacional (D.R.)

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